Hamid on Hate

Hamid Mohsin
Mohsin Hamid (Photo: Carolin Seeliger)

Earlier this week the Washington Post offered four opinion articles featuring perspectives on America from Muslim writers, including “Why Do They Hate Us?” from Mohsin Hamid, author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Moth Smoke. Being born in Pakistan, raised in the States from age 3 to 9, going back to Pakistan and returning to the States for his college and graduate education, in addition to working in NYC provides him with a “textured” view of the U.S. and its foreign policy.

While the main topic is Hamid’s diagnosis of and advice for dealing with anti-Americanism, the piece also offers a glimpse at his own identification as partly “they” and “us.” The encounter he describes in a Dallas bookstore—an elderly gentleman with Hamid’s book in hand points to the man on the cover and asks, “So tell me, sir. Why do they hate us?”—may be seen in contrast to a typical reaction he noted receiving after the publication of his second novel, a work focused on an extended encounter between a Pakistani man who tells his story to an American stranger in a Pakistani cafe: “People often ask me if I am the book’s Pakistani protagonist. I wonder why they never ask if I am his American listener.”

Read the full article for Hamid’s analysis and a transcript of the subsequent chat between Hamid and Post readers.

July 25, 2007
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